Private University|Historically Black
About Our College
The institution was founded in 1878 as the Alabama Baptist Normal and Theological School to train African Americans as ministers and teachers. The school purchased the former Selma Fair Grounds later that same year, moving into the fair's old exposition buildings. Noted ministers such as William H. McAlpine, James A. Foster and R. Murrell were among the founders. At a meeting in Mobile, Alabama in 1874, the first trustees were elected: C. O. Booth, Alexander Butler, William H. McAlpine, Holland Thompson and H. J. Europe. The convention voted to locate the school in Selma in 1877. The school opened four years later in the Saint Phillips Street Baptist Church of Selma (which later became the First Baptist Church).